The ‘Plight’ Of The Straight White Male


Jack wants straight white men to stop whining about oppression. They’re the original oppressors.

I read a YouTube comment recently. It was on a video that had nothing to do with race, gender or sexuality. The commenter wrote: ‘I not ashamed to be white and no one should be. Yes we may have been the ones that oppressed women, blacks and gays but we are also the ones that gave them their rights back, and that I’m proud of’. It got me thinking…

“…For two centuries the white man had the entire system working in his favour”

History tells us that, once upon a time, being a heterosexual Caucasian male was the most powerful and influential demographic you could be in; one could act as disgustingly as they liked to anyone who wasn’t one of the big three and shamefully no one would bat an eyelid. Women had no rights, people of colour had no rights, and homosexuals were treated like monsters. So when everything changed for the better, why are the straight white males, like that YouTube commenter, now finding themselves shunned?

Yes we are part of a generation that has overcome some of the most horrible social oppressions of our existence, but for a white male to take credit for the years and years of fighting that women, the LGBTQA+ community and people of colour spent just to be treated like human beings, is absolutely shameful. ca314f1133410d313242a8836f668f4d

For two centuries the white man had the entire system working in his favour and even once the abolishment of slavery came around, most of the compensation was not given to the slaves, but to the slave owners for loss of property.  According to UCL, £17 billion was given to slave owners for compensation and all of the money generated cost-free from slave labour over the 200 years stayed in the pockets of the white man.

Following the abolishment of slavery, the systems still stayed in place that allowed the white men to save their money but instead of targeting a ethnic group directly, the government indirectly targeted non-white by removing the ability for ‘agricultural workers’ and ‘domestic servants’ to save for retirement.

anti-suffrage_6Where does gender and sexuality come into this complex discussion?

Thanks to suffrages, women gained the basic human rights that they deserve, but that does not mean we’ve arrived at a time where everything is equal. It’ll take centuries again to unfold and deconstruct the systems that have been in place and the damage that has done to a woman’s socio-economic status. Recently though women’s hourly wage actually surpassed the men’s in the 22-29 and 30-39 bracket, but still however had a difference of around 9.4% overall, which is almost half of what was recorded in 1997

The most current issue still being processed is the issues of the LGBTQA+ community, who to this day face regular oppression Gay_pride_Istanbul_at_Taksim_Squarefrom the narrow-minded heterosexuals. Thankfully in the UK since 2010 it has been illegal for any employer to discriminate against someone from the LGBTQA+ community. However in the US it still is legal in 31 states. If we’re still so far from equality for all, why then does a select bunch of straight white males suddenly feel like they are now the most oppressed demographic alive right now? Because they lost the rights to spout racist remarks, or control women into being walking baby machines and to beat the life out of people without a heteronormative orientation?

Britain First do a great job of simplifying the narrow minded attitudes of many who take part in an online meme called the ‘Oppression Olympics’. ‘Oppression Olympics’ has become an online trend with unintentional origins however has resulted in the competitive nature of sufferance. The ‘Oppression Olympics’ is when people see others in sufferance, acknowledge the attention they receive and decide that they want a piece of the sympathy pie. Sadly the sympathy pie only has a couple slices left on it and by getting grabby with chubby fingers tends to destroy the last remaining pieces, and leaves you with sticky fingers. I refer those with this attitude to one of my favourite anecdotes:

‘A 1% CEO, a working class citizen and an immigrant sit at a table, with 12 cookies on a plate. The CEO grab’s 11 cookies and tells the working class citizen, “You better watch that immigrant. He wants your cookie”‘  – anon reddit commentor

The straight white man for centuries has held back the female population, enslaved people of colour and cast aside those of a non-heterosexual preference. The oppression is still wearing off and cannot be fixed over night. Don’t confuse the loss of straight white male privilege with oppression, because you have no idea…

This article has some strong opinions in it, how do you feel about the straight white male? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook we’d love to know…    

Support more young people to have their voices heard

Rife is Watershed‘s online magazine created for young people, by young people.

We offer paid internships and publish work by young writers, photographers, illustrators, and filmmakers from all sorts of backgrounds, helping them get into creative careers. Rife has reached over 8,000 young people through our workshops, over 220 young people have made stuff for Rife on topics ranging from mental health to identity to baked beans, and last year, over 200,000 people visited our website.

In these complex and uncertain times hearing from and supporting young people who are advocating for social change and contributing fresh perspectives has never been so important. 

Through supporting Rife you can ensure that this important work continues and that more young people have their voices heard.